What is the Gaia Spacecraft?
Gaia is an observatory operated in space by the European Space Agency (ESA) to construct a 3D catalog of a billion stars as well as discover other planetary systems, quasars and asteroids.
Everyone one of the billion stars will get looked at by Gaia about 70 times over it’s mission life time of 5-6 years. The observations will determine properties such as mass, luminosity, elemental composition and temperature.
It will be flown into space by Soyuz 2-1B Rocket with a Fregat Upper Stage. The rocket is to launch today, December 19, to the final destination of an orbit around the Earth-Sun Lagrangian Point 2.
Photo Credit: ESA